Anyone who has been out of work for a while can tell you that the job search period can be a lonely, difficult and stressful time. While people you know are at work, you are on your own and may even feel overwhelmed with the challenge of finding a new job. While motivation and self-confidence waver from day to day, you don’t have to go through it alone – a job finding club can offer hope and help.
Joining or starting your own job finding club can help reduce feelings of isolation, expand your network and give you mutual support and encouragement. These clubs can take many forms from open to closed groups, occupation-specific to general, formal to casual and small to large. Groups can also cater to specific demographics such as students, recent graduates, older workers, new Canadians or parents returning to work. In some groups, the only thing in common is that everyone is looking for work. This factor alone can bring people together.
Group activities can include discussing your job search experiences, challenges and goals, sharing job search tips, critiquing each other’s’ resumes, sharing job leads and practicing interview questions. Some groups also organize social activities to help members get to know each other in a comfortable environment. Meetings can be run by group members themselves, or guest speakers can be brought in to address specific topics.
You may be able to find an existing group by looking in the newspaper, the community section of Kijiji, meetup.com, local community and employment centers or any place that has a public bulletin board. If you cannot find a local group, this is a great opportunity to start one! Chances are there are other people in your community who would be interested in joining a group – they are just waiting for someone to start it.
To start your own job finding club:
1. Create a brief document that defines things like the purpose of the group, the geographical area, who can participate, and a time and place to meet. Your needs will depend on the group’s size and activities.
2. Identify a place to meet such as coffee shops, libraries, community centers or churches. Ask around to see if you can find a free meeting space.
3. Create a general descriptive paragraph of your group to use in print and online advertisements, posters or flyers.
4. Consider starting your group with 3 to 5 people you know, then define a group vision together and combine your efforts to grow the group.
Whether you join an existing group or start your own, the greatest benefit of belonging to a job finding club is the peer support, which can make a world of difference to keep you motivated when you are looking for a job.